April 2 2004
Some Facts and Figures on Kurds
PEOPLE – An estimated 20 million to 25 million Kurds live mostly in
four countries – Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. The largest community,
with about 12 million people, is in Turkey.
HISTORY – Kurds trace their history to ancient Mesopotamia. They were
a significant power in the early Middle Ages and after World War I
were promised an independent homeland. Recent decades have seen
Kurdish rebellions in Iran, Iraq and Turkey.
LANGUAGE – Kurdish is an Indo-European language like English and is
closely related to Iran’s Farsi. The various Kurdish dialects are to
a large extent mutually incomprehensible. The dialects include:
Kurmanji, or northern Kurdish, the largest spoken dialect, which is
spoken in southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria as well as parts
of Armenia and Georgia; Sorani, or central Kurdish, which is spoken
mainly in parts of northern Iraq and western Iran; and Zaza, which is
spoken in eastern Turkey.
Kurdish dialects have borrowed heavily from other languages,
including Persian, Arabic and Turkish, but they are grammatically
Submitted by Janoyan Ana